The Polished Tomboy Takes On Summer, With Blazer, Shorts, And A Wardrobe Of Earrings

I know many of you are ripping summer dresses from your closets as we speak, full of love for florals and flounces. Not I. I’ve realized that I just don’t feel comfortable with unfettered legs, at least in casual situations. Most likely due to my predilection for curling up in chairs, stretching out legs uncrossed on lounges, and all-around squirming, absent formality. While I have not taken to the young women’s habit of going “commando,” I grew up in an era when no one was supposed to see even your underwear.

I see no need to make a change at this age. And if that’s too much information, I have to apologize to my High WASP ancestors and then to you. OK. Done.

Shorts it is.

Untitled #186
Shorts, none too short, a linen blend blazer, good tees, sandals with heels ranging from totally flat to teensy, and a wardrobe of earrings in precious metals. Submitted for your consideration; tagline, “Polishing The Tomboy Since 1956.”

Shorts: Cotton chino shorts UNIQLO (these are great IRL)
Blazer: Lightweight linen-blend UNIQLO IDLF (so is this)
Tees: Petit Bateau here, and here
Earrings: Finn turquoise cabochons via Barneys, classic large gold hoops with a little texture, on sale at Kohl’s
Shoes: Trina sandals by Sam Edelman and Havianas, via Zappos, here, and here.
Sun: Via the graces of every nature, every year, especially after long, long, winters.


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  • I see your point, re the underwear, and I also see the smart-ness of this outfit, but it’s not going to be comfortable all day, is it? Not with that waist action, and all that material at the, well, underwear-covering points. A dress with enough length and enough fullness on a hot summer day is just so much more comfortable, although I know that word should/can never be the arbiter of stylishness. . . .I have to admit to being a bit puzzled by what circumstances would admit or demand the blazer with the shorts. . . For a workplace, I can’t see why I’d wear shorts over a skirt, quite honestly, except for novelty and/or variety. But then, I ride my bike in my skirt, so perhaps I’m even more Tomboy than I thought and not enough Sturdy Gal . . . ;-)

    7:23 am
    Lisa said...

    I am never uncomfortable in shorts – and waists feel comforting to me, all day long. So interesting to see how different people find different clothing points tricky. BTW, the blazer is very very light, very casual linen blend. I wear it instead of a cardigan at night. In California, it’s a great way to wear casual shorts and polish them up.

    8:00 am
    Frances/Materfamilias said...

    I think my discomfort with the waist is that my own is so very short that gathering inevitably happens. I do love the smartness of the blazer — I bought a navy linen shirt (J Crew men’s small) last summer that I use the same way.
    (and btw, I preserve modesty when curling up in chairs by wrapping a dress’s skirt over my knees — just requires that it be full/long enough. . . ;-) No flashing here!

  • I love a dress or skirt for summer but I have so much trouble baring my legs these days….too many tomboy tumbles and scars!
    On the boat I wear capris and having a bit of a tan on my legs does help.
    You have honed what works for you and comfort has a huge impact on what we choose to wear. Aren’t you glad that we are not corseted ladies ?

  • I absolutely love this outfit. It’s exactly what I would wear if I had a bit more style! In fact, I am going to try to put something like this together in case an opportunity to wear it comes along. In my real life, it’s mostly shorts, tee shirts and either sneakers or sandals – depending on whether I’m headed to the gym or out to play.

  • I like shorts! I also like slim denim skirts in the summer. You get the free leg effect with less thigh definition than shorts.

    If only it would stop snowing.

  • Cute outfit. Wouldn’t work where I live. We only seem to have about two months of summer here in Idaho anyway. Enjoy that California sunshine

  • You have exactly described my casual summer staples, but swap shorts for long, very light chinos from Brooks Brothers:my uniform both here in Arabia and in the States. I do love summer dresses, though. The extreme heat and humidity in Abu Dhabi can make waistbands uncomfortable.

    8:27 am
    Lisa said...

    @Margaret Goodhouse, “The extreme heat and humidity in Abu Dhabi can make waistbands uncomfortable.” Sentences like this are one of the reason I love our commenters here;).

  • I love jackets with shorts, I think its a great way to transition from fall into spring especially for work. My blog story last week was about jackets with bermuda shorts!! Love this outfit you have put together Lisa :)

  • I feel the same way about dresses — too exposed. Perhaps it is also growing up in an era in which women wore pantyhose all the time! Not a shorts fan either because my legs are relatively short, so I prefer loose, airy pants. A jacket in Florida in the summer would be too hot, but I do carry an elbow length cardigan for over air conditioned places. I’m going to try a midi this summer too.

  • Polished Tomboy sounds like a deceptively stiff summer cocktail that could get me in a lot of trouble. You have assembled a splendid summer ensemble that we here in Chicago are probably still 3 months away from seeing.

    8:28 am
    Lisa said...

    @GSL, Hahahahaha. That’s a good future post idea. What Cocktail Are you?:)

  • I really like this look. Skirts and dresses are my summer staples but I think I’d do shorts and trousers if we had air conditioning.

  • I’m not fond of shorts on me, and have limited success with dresses but it rarely gets hot enough here to push the issue. When push does come to shove, I’ll go with capris or drapey culottes. Or even my “sarouel” pants.

  • I love the outfit, and have worn some version of it for a few decades, and on both coasts, but I also love long, peasanty skirts, especially with low-heeled shoes and Havanas. It’s all good!

    The important thing is feeling like YOURSELF however you’re dressed.

    8:30 am
    Lisa said...

    @Lee Rosenthall, True dat. Even if we use clothes to expand our sense of self.

  • You’ve got to discover the simplicity and comfort of the skort…borrowed from the golf course! Pull on with undershorts attached….naturally commando but no flashing. Black skort with any number of cute tees and tops looks smart from sunrise through the wee hours!

    1:41 pm
    Duchesse said...

    Skorts! Like tennis skirts, no? I had forgotten all about them; you never see them off a court here in Montréal, but, like little anklets, they are so charming. Wonderful little casual garment for women with pretty legs.

  • Gosh, shorts (and not the longest length, either) at …well, the age you have previously published! Few women have the skin/vein tone by that point, not that legs has to be perfect. You are one of the favoured few.

  • Dadgummit, I meant to write “not that legs •have• to be perfect. Legs are not my only imperfections!

    8:31 am
    Lisa said...

    @Duchesse, We’ve all got our favored bits. Calves and ankles are probably mine now, hence the shorts. I do not know how long this will last:).

  • That’s why we wear the soft little cotton bike shorts under skirts and dresses! It doesn’t work so well if you’re insistent on constricting pencil skirts, but under my full skirts I just put on some little lightweight shorts and go. Much more comfortable than pants in the dog days of summer, plus there’s just a lot of swish to love about a dress.

  • We’re finally coming out of summer here in Australia, one with long stretches of scorchingly hot days (40+ Celsius). Loose jeans cut off just above the knee, light cotton tanks and t-shirts, cotton dresses or tunics and bike pants for modesty and comfort, plus my beloved birkenstocks. Emphasis was on light and loose (especially in the office, where the air conditioning is not overly effective).

    Glorying in cooler weather and a chance to wear closed shoes and cardigans!

  • I’m still recovering from seeing the words “going “commando”. (Starts fanning face rapidly, swears she has an old-school case of ‘the vapors.’ Okay, not really.) This is one stellar look. You can’t go wrong with a classic Petit Bateau and crisp shorts, the blazer just sets it off perfectly.

    BTW, your post about the contest winner (not to mention the contest comments, my word) made me smile and go all misty-eyed at the same. The look on your face as you gaze up at your mother is priceless. And your father’s reminder about Sargent’s Mme. X was spot-on.

    Sending you a smile,

    8:33 am
    Lisa said...

    @The Preppy Princess, Yes. My apologies to all the now-appalled ancestors;).

  • I love your take on summer, Lisa. I will be scouting around for pieces inspired by this post after I survive the 24 hours of flying from Sydney to Orlando this May.

    SSG xxx

  • I love that outfit! I’m still trying to figure out what to wear in the summer though here in my new climate. When it is hot and humid, loose and flawy is all I want and a long enough skirt allows me to fidget, stretch my legs, and curl them up as well. And I wish it would be cool enough to wear a light jacket in the evenings….

    But your outfit reminds me of summers and vacations past, and helps me think of summers and vacations future as well.

  • I’m in the same boat as you — but for me it’s breezes. I feel like I walk around holding my dress down all day! Nobody wants to see my underwear as I walk by, trust me! I love shorts and I love jean shorts, but this year I’m thinking as I creep up in age, it might be time to find some flattering shorts. These are cute! Definitely checking them out and some similar styles.
    xo ~kim & chloe

  • I admit to liking both dresses and shorts, as well as skirts, but the jackets…not so much. I love the look, but like Materfamilias feels about waistbands, so do I about (straight)jackets, no matter how they’re cut. The tee I could wear in May or September, but summers here in the midAtlantic are burners. I covet those sandals, however, and could see those entering my closet space in a flash.

  • It is the color of the jacket that feels too heavy for me. Ah, yes, at the yacht club, for cocktails after sailing,.. but during the day? Perhaps a light cotton cable knit tied around the neck and shoulders. The shorts for comfort, but in ahem, “maturity” perhaps no longer flattering or appropriate for me. – But you rock it Lisa, lucky you,
    that you can.

    8:34 am
    Lisa said...

    @Kathy, It’s navy linen. I will take an outfit shot, and you all can see how it looks unbutton over a white shirt. Far less heavy.

  • No shorts for me – the bit above my ‘knees’ is the less pretty bit of my body so it’s knee length or longer skirts (with bike shorts underneath in very hot weather for extra comfort).

    Sadly no hot weather for me either – it’s still chilly and grey in England and won’t be warm for another month or two yet.

    Nice outfit, thought – crisp and fresh with that colour palette.

  • Very hot in the summertime where I live and dresses can go more places than shorts. In Dallas, I can’t remember seeing a woman going out to lunch in shorts. I think of them as strictly lake/weekend wear. Maybe it’s a different culture here! I love a loose dress in the summertime and never feel exposed.

    The commando comment made me laugh!

  • I love this ensemble. Tomboy? I don’t think so! It just feels super tailored to me. I think we must have the same style sensibility. I love super feminine clothes–but they aren’t me!

    8:36 am
    Lisa said...

    @Crystal, Yes, tailored as I do it has a lot of menswear influence, so I use the term tomboy. Perhaps not quite apt here.

  • Timely post, Lisa! I’ve been wondering about tomboy summer looks now that I live in a place with summer and I no longer sport worn out, holey denim shorts, however comfortable.

    I do still feel a tank top and shorts is the natural state of the human Aya, but I’m also compromising with mid-length dresses, since I can take a stance in them and even lounge out with legs uncrossed and the fabric falls between my knees and leaves my modesty intact. :D

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